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Auburn Tigers

Auburn battles to beat Arkansas, grabs first SEC win


AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn Tigers picked up their first SEC win of the season, battling from behind to beat the No. 1 Arkansas Razorbacks 8-6 in the final game of the three-game series.

After going behind 4-0 in the fourth inning and 5-1 in the sixth, the Tiger offense exploded for a six run inning in the bottom half of the sixth. The crooked number gave Auburn a 7-5 lead, and the Tigers didn’t trail the remainder of the game. 

Redshirt junior Cooper McMurray delivered the big blow, hitting a towering opposite-field home run that plated three and gave Auburn their first lead of the contest. McMurray also had the single to put the Tigers on the board in the fifth.

“I was just trying to be a spark,” McMurray said. “Just having that confidence and going up there and free swinging and being able to drive in runs is huge for the team. All we try to do is win the game any way we can.”

Tiger hitters tallied 10 hits, five of them for extra bases and three leaving the yard. Half of Auburn’s eight runs were scored with two outs. After being held scoreless in game one and struggling to convert on big chances in game two, as well as the first half of game three, the offense finally had the big inning they were looking for. 

Redshirt junior Joseph Gonzalez started on the bump for the Tigers, but was only able to go 3.2 innings, giving up five hits and four earned runs. He was followed by the junior duo of Carson Myers and Parker Carlson, who each gave up an earned run in their 1.2 innings pitched. 

With just six outs left to get, Auburn head coach Butch Thompson called on junior Will Cannon to finish the job. Cannon delivered, sitting down the heart of the Arkansas lineup in the eighth, and striking out two in the ninth to secure Auburn’s first win in league play and his first save of the season.

“I think trust is a big part,” Cannon said. “Whenever coaches give me that, I know the guys behind me trust me. They’re just having that faith in me, and I know I have to go out there and not do more, but just let my stuff work.”

Behind the Tigers was a program-record crowd of 5,087 fans. The atmosphere at Plainsman Park has continued to be a huge factor in games.

“For you to come back out the next day being 0-2 down in the series at home and have more fans than we’ve ever had in the park's history show up is pretty moving,” Thompson said. “For me personally, it’s a big deal. They were huge, huge for some momentum in the ballpark today.”

The win moves Auburn to just 1-5 in SEC play, but knocking off the number one team in the nation will be big for the confidence of the team going forward.

“When you start 0-5 in league play, it’s tough,” McMurray said. “It shows that this group is a solid group. We love each other, and in that locker room, it’s all confidence. Being able to come out today and win a big game against the number one team in the country is huge for us, and hopefully we take that momentum into next week.”

Up next for the Tigers is another competitive week. Auburn will host Jacksonville State at Plainsman Park on Tuesday, before heading to College Station to take on the No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies over the weekend.

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